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Calgary police to begin using e-ticketing for traffic violations

It could be in full use by Calgary Police Service patrol by the summertime, they said.

Calgary police will soon begin e-ticketing in the city, as a provincial portal is now ready for testing.

Acting Insp. Rob Patterson with the Calgary Police Service Traffic Section informed Calgary Police Commission (CPC) members of the initiative last week.

“We will be rolling out e-ticketing and instead of going through an administrative process, it will be through a ticket process through the courts,” A/Insp. Patterson told the commission.

In May 2017, the province expanded the scope and use of e-ticketing in the Act to Modernize Enforcement of Provincial Offences.  Those rules allowed courts to use electronic violation tickets in carrying out their function.

Patterson said that they were initially working on the project with the province, but then it stalled. It’s once again moving ahead.

According to the budget information provided by the CPC, the move to e-ticketing would save an estimated $700,000 annually.

The province confirmed the e-ticketing system would begin testing by the end of February.

They told LWC that a new, web-based portal had been developed that will allow police services to issue violation tickets electronically via the Advanced Projects Information System (APIS). The tickets issued will directly proceed to traffic court.

“This initiative will help modernize traffic enforcement operations and is part of our strategy to improve Alberta’s justice system,” read an email response from Jason Maloney, Assistant Communications Director with the Ministry of Justice.

CPS patrol by summertime: A/Insp. Patterson

In June 2020, the Strathcona County Enforcement Services began using e-ticketing for traffic violations under the Provincial Offences Procedure Act.

They first piloted it in 2019 for parking enforcement. In their system, the officers scanned license plates and digitally recorded and entered driver information. The ticket was printed on the spot using a portable printer.

Those tickets were immediately entered into the court system.

“This system eliminates the need for County or court administration to re-enter data,” they said in a media release at the time. They also said the public could pay a ticket within 24-to-72 hours rather than waiting until the ticket is manually entered into the system. It could also reduce court scheduling delays.

Strathcona County also said it would improve officer and driver safety by spending less time on the roadside.

A/Insp. Patterson said some members have already been trained on the system.

“We’re hoping that traffic will start running this program and then by summertime, we’ll be having patrol have access to it as well,” he said.

“That will make it a much easier and much more streamlined process to be able to deal with offenders on the side of the road. (It will) reduce errors, streamline time, and give our officers more time to do enforcement and to answer the calls that they’re asked to deal with every day.”

Details on precisely how the system will work weren’t provided.

Other systems rely on the scanning of driver’s license bar codes to populate the electronic data areas.  Once the violation is recorded, the ticket is entered and then printed off for the driver.